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Marriage in Leap Year

The superstitious are most likely the first to admit that depending what you believe, getting married during a leap year can bring good fortune or bad luck. This is not something most people even consider when choosing their wedding date.

The leap year is also known as bissextile year or intercalary year, and is a calendar year that contains an additional day to keep the rest of the months in synch with the astronomical year orthe seasons, if you will. Occasionally inserting an additional day is what causes a common year to become a leap year.

It is this additional day in the year that has many superstitious people up in arms about marriage. Queen Margaret of Scotland took advantage of this additional day and created a law that allowed women to propose to men on this day. The enacted law was put into place in 1288. The only catch was that any women intending to propose had to wear a red petticoat to warn her man she intended to pop the question.

The Greek and Ukrainian folklore would not find Queen Margaret’s law suitable as they both consider marriage during a leap year inauspicious. They believe that couples that marry during aleap year will suffer bad luck and are bound to end in divorce.

In the Ukraine every calendar day of the year is assigned a saint. Unfortunately the saint for LeapDay, which is February 29, is an unfavorable one named Cassian. Legend has it that Cassian, who watched as the cart of a poor peasant became stuck in the mud, refused to offer his help. Instead, St. Nicholas arrived to offer assistance, which then prompted God to give St. Nicholastwo saint days each year while Cassian was limited to only one saint day every four years. It is said that his revenge was to make all the townsfolk and cattle sick. To this day, many Ukrainiansremain indoors and keep their livestock inside as well when the date of February 29 comes around. They also refrain from marrying.

However, women in Ireland and Finland have always been encouraged to take the reins and propose every time the February 29 date rolls around. Both cultures believe that a proposal on this day brings heaps of good luck to a marriage. This is belief also stems from a legend.

Irish folklore says that St. Brigid of Kildare, who was a 5 century nun, requested from the patronsaint of Ireland, St. Patrick, to allow women to be able to propose to men since most men were too shy to do it themselves. St. Brigid was granted permission to purpose, but only once every seven years. With slight resistance, St. Patrick changed this to be every fours years.

At that very moment St. Brigid got down on one knee and proposed to Patrick. Legend has it that Patrick refused her proposal but, to soften the blow, kissed her on the cheek and offered her agown made of silk. Irish tradition still stands that every man who refuses a woman’s leap day proposal must buy her a silk gown.

Jess, Events Organiser at Chillisauce Ltd. who specialise in organising hen weekends and stag weekends.


Wedding Rules Made to Be Broken

The Rule: Guests shouldn’t outdo the bride, or wear white or black to a wedding.

Breaking the Rule: You can wear white to a wedding, just as long as it doesn’t look extremely bridal. Basically, don’t show up in your old wedding dress just for kicks. No one will think that it’s funny. If you want to wear black, make sure you look sophisticated & chic, not like you’re heading to a funeral. Other ways to pick the perfect outfit for a wedding are to pay attention to the location & the time of day.

The Rule: The groom should not see his bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.

Breaking the Rule: I guess breaking this rule will depend on how superstitious & traditional you are. It has said to be bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her gown before she walks down the aisle. However, many couples today are having none of that…& taking the time before the ceremony to bond, and or have a photo op.

The Rule: The bride’s parents are responsible for paying for the entire wedding.

Breaking the Rule: In the past, it has been tradition for the bride’s family to pay for the entire wedding, while the groom’s family pitches in for the honeymoon. However times are changing, especially with the recession.  So instead of the entire financial burden resting on the bride’s family, it is often spread out between a bunch of people. Etiquette expert Emily Post has said, “You want to honor the tradition by allowing the bride’s family to take the reins if they want to, but the groom’s family should honor the new custom by offering.”

The Rule: When someone asks you to be in their wedding party, you can’t decline.

Breaking the Rule: Let’s face it being in someone’s wedding isn’t cheap. And it seems, when it rains it pours. Meaning I’ve already been to 4 weddings this year, & have another 4 invitations on my refrigerator. So if you are broke as a bike with no tires, because of all of the weddings…simply tell your friend you can’t be a bridesmaid right now. Emily Post says, “Say, I love you so much and I want to be there to support you, but right now being a bridesmaid is not something I can commit to. Is there another way I can help you on your big day?”

The Rule: Every wedding has to have a wedding cake for dessert.

Breaking the Rule: Some people aren’t huge cake fans, & the thought of having the traditional multi-tiered cake just doesn’t suit them.  I’d prefer gourmet cupcakes over a massive cake any day, & I think many people today are starting to opt for cupcakes. They are a lot less messy, they are fun for little kids at the wedding, & they appear to be less fattening for the guests that want to believe that they are sticking to their diet.

I hope that you’ve taken something valuable away from this list, & realize that the times are changing. It comes down to the bride & groom’s happiness, and what they want to do, & what their family’s can afford. 

 

This article was written by Rebecca from Chillisauce Events Company, who specialise in Hen party Packages and adventure stag do ideas


Why You Might Consider A Chocolate Diamond Ring

White diamonds just don’t seem to cut it for many Hollywood celebrities these days, which is why they are now sporting jewelry containing fancy colored diamonds of all kinds, from lustrous blacks to vivid blues. Jewelry featuring chocolate diamonds has become an especially hot trend, and many celebrities heading down the red carpet this month will likely be photographed wearing some of these beautiful pieces.

Rare and Uncommon

Most naturally-occurring colored diamonds, unfortunately, are out of range for most buyers because they are exceedingly rare and can cost as much as fifty times the price of a white diamond equal in respect to the other Cs (carat, cut, clarity). Chocolate diamonds, however, remain the exception because they are more commonly found and have not been a popular choice for jewelry design until recently.

From Dirty Brown to Gorgeous Chocolate

Celebrity bling did not always feature chocolate diamonds. In fact, they used to be considered unattractive as gemstones and were only used for industrial purposes until the late 1980s, when Australia’s Argyle diamond mine began to unearth thousands of brown diamonds. Through clever marketing techniques on behalf of jeweler LeVian, these brown stones were redubbed “chocolate” diamonds due to their delectable coloration.

New Tools Make For Better Cuts

Technological advances have also enabled gem cutters to give these stones the sparkle they deserve, and some chocolate diamonds are now worth millions. The “Golden Jubilee,” a yellow-brown diamond worth roughly $12 million, is currently the world’s largest faceted diamond weighing in at a whopping 545.67 carats. Although it was originally intended as a “guinea pig” to test the latest in diamond cutting tools, the results were astonishing.

A Spectrum of Chocolate Shades

Today’s brown diamonds come in several shades, from the lighter “cognac” and “champagne” colors to the dark chocolates for which they are commonly named. They look especially lovely surrounding a large aquamarine and set in yellow gold, which is why these have become popular designs for brides-to-be interested in wearing an engagement ring that suits their personal tastes. Even women who simply want something to go with their eyes will find that a vintage cocktail bracelet looks amazing when studded with chocolate diamonds.  

Affordable And Able to Grow

Chocolate diamonds also provide bling for those on a budget, since they are much less expensive than their white counterparts. For instance, couples can purchase a one carat natural chocolate diamond for about half the price of a white version of the same size, though other characteristics such as clarity and cut also affect diamond worth. Chocolate diamonds are also very easy to grow artificially, and for those who don’t mind wearing cultured diamonds, this can be the most affordable way to purchase them.

Beware Chocolate Swindlers

Unfortunately, the popularity of chocolate diamonds has also attracted shady dealers who try to pass cultured or treated chocolate diamonds off as more expensive natural stones. Buyers who want to avoid getting swindled should look for a trusted dealer who sells only GIA-certified diamonds to ensure they are getting their money’s worth. This is especially important for those trying to determine diamond resale value, since cultured and treated diamonds are worth significantly less than their natural counterparts.

Although the taste for chocolate diamonds may eventually leave the mouths of celebrities, they will remain a delicious alternative for those who want to own a diamond ring that makes a statement.

Brandi Tolleson is a prolific Internet writer and graduate of Cal State Long Beach.


Wedding Invitations - Where to Begin?

Wedding invitations need to be planned with extreme care, as is the case with most aspects related to weddings. When it comes to cards, most people don’t seem to have any clue where to begin. For those of you who think that handling the cards aspect is an easy job because it simply involves choosing cards and mailing them; well, you think wrong! Here’s everything that you need to know about handling cards.

1. Ordering the cards: They should be ordered a minimum of 3-4 months before the big day. This leaves enough time to get your cards printed, proof-read, and mistakes corrected, if any.

2. Number of cards: Once your final guest list is ready, you should count how many invitations you require and then order at least 20% more than that number. The extra cards come handy if you want to invite any last minute guests or if any cards get ruined while addressing them. Ordering the extra cards with your original order will not cost you too much when compared to what you will have to shell out for a second printing of cards.

3. Card add-ons: Wedding invitations include not just the main invite but also other inserts such as reception cards, within-the-ribbon cards, response cards, directions to the ceremony venue, hotel listings for out-of-town guests, travel itineraries for destination weddings etc. Make a list of all the add-ons that you will need and then order them along with your cards.

4. Type of cards: They need to be in keeping with the theme of the event. If you are having a traditional wedding ceremony and the reception is going to be a black tie affair, you have to choose formal cards. Traditional ivory with gold embossing does very well. However, if you are having a casual lunch affair or a beach ceremony, or perhaps even a garden ceremony, then your card can be casual as well. Handwritten letters are also acceptable in such situations.

5. Trendy Cards: While engraved and embossed invitations are the usual standard, you can make your cards unique and trendy. Using a picture of you and your intended on the cards, handwritten calligraphic cards, and scroll like cards are all good ideas for making yours different.

6. Assembling: Once you have proofread your cards and have received the final versions, you must then assemble each card. Make sure that all the inserts are included with the cards. If some cards do not include any particular inserts, label these separately so that there is no confusion while addressing the cards.

7. Addressing: All your wedding invitations must be addressed by hand. Sticking printed labels on your cards is an absolute no-no. If there are too many cards to be addressed, you can take help from the bridesmaids, best man, your mother, or even your ma-in-law! But no labels under any circumstances. If your budget allows it, you can hire a calligrapher to address your cards . This way, you won’t have to sit and address hundreds of invites on your own, and your cards will look pretty on the outside as well.

8. Posting: Before posting the cards, you should assemble one complete card and have it weighed at your local post office. This way you know exactly what you need to pay in terms of postage for all your cards.

9. Sending them out: They should be sent out at least 3-4 weeks before the event. Out-of-town invites should be sent out a minimum of 6-8 weeks before the event so that there is adequate time for people to make the necessary travel arrangements. Same is the case for destination weddings.

10. Saving the list: Lastly, you should always keep a copy of list even after you have mailed all your cards so that you can check it if you feel you have missed inviting someone important.

And in all the excitement of your ceremony, ensure that your invitations have been selected and mailed in keeping with the budget for your event.


5 Unique Wedding Favor Ideas

You want your guests to leave with something that not only thanks them for attending your wedding, but is something they'll enjoy. While many wedding favors get tossed in the trash for being too personal, there are several gifts that guests will actually want. The following are just five unique wedding favor ideas.

Personalized Shot Glasses

There are a lot of people that collect shot glasses. Believe it or not, even those that don't consume alcohol have been known to have a collection. A shot glass that lists the names of the wedding couple as well as the date is a nice memento that your guests can add to their collection. Best of all, you can purchase this wedding favor for less than $3 a piece.

Homemade Truffles Packaged in Ring Boxes

Do you enjoy making candy? Then why not prepare homemade truffles for your guests. You could create something as unique and creative as you like. For example, you could color white chocolate to match the colors of your wedding and use extracts to flavor the truffles with the flavors of your wedding cake. Pop the truffles into ring boxes and you've got wedding favors that cost less than $1 each.

Votive Candles with the Scent of the Wedding Flowers

A nice way for guests to remember your wedding is to give votive candles in the scent of your wedding flowers. You could use the scent from your bouquet or the scent of the flowers found in the reception hall. Either way, it's a fun gift that can be purchased for less than $2 each.

Sterling Silver Bookmarks That Match the Theme of the Wedding

Another great memento that will remind guests of your wedding, while not being too personal, is bookmarks. You can purchase sterling silver bookmarks in a variety of shapes rather inexpensively. For example, if you have a winter wedding, you could give your guests bookmarks shaped like snowflakes. This gift will cost less than $5 a piece.

Diamond Ring Bottle Stopper

Last, but certainly not least, a diamond ring bottle stopper is such a cute gift. The stopper is packaged in a ring box and can be used for everything from wine to soda. This means that all your guests can get use out of this wedding favor. Best of all, you'll pay less than $2 each.

Your wedding favors don't have to be boring. There are a number of unique gifts that your guests will actually enjoy receiving. Best of all, many of these gifts allow you to be creative by giving you the chance to match the gifts with the theme of your wedding.


Promises of Forever: How Diamond Engagement Rings Became Popular

Diamond engagement rings have become a modern day symbol of ‘forever’; a promise to a lifelong commitment to another, but did you know that this wasn’t always the case? Well here are some little-known facts on how this scintillating halo of metal and mineral came to be.

 

Though traditionally, diamonds ware associated with a marriage of sixty years, and while jewelry has always been part of wedding and engagement gifts, with the first known diamond engagement ring was given by Archduke Maximilian of Austria (who later became the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I) to Mary of Burgundy in 1477, it wasn’t until about 500 years later when world-renowned diamond jeweler De Beers came up with its “A Diamond is Forever” campaign in 1947 that the diamond engagement ring established itself as the symbol of lasting love and devotion. This has even been looked to as the most successful campaign in the history of advertising.

 

Platinum engagement bands were the rage before World War II, but the demand for the use  of platinum drastically changed during the war. So when De Beers launched its catchy diamond engagement ring advertising campaign just after the devastating war, the idea of a diamond lasting forever was introduced and forever ingrained in the public’s collective consciousness. In the aftermath of destruction, everyone wanted something to hold onto — and the message of love was strong. And with a diamond’s indestructible quality, being the hardest known natural material, it can last lifetime after lifetime. After all, true love deserves nothing less than forever, right?  So diamond engagement rings then became a symbol of man’s willingness to invest in a relationship, and also a symbol of stability and security — thus a diamond engagement ring is an offering: “make a life with me, marry me.” When you think about it, it is actually a very compelling statement of a man’s financial capabilities, because a woman can more or less expect to get a decent monetary support from someone who can afford to spend such a sum.

 

And now, decades later, the diamond is still as iconic as ever; a straightforward yet elegant statement of devotion, of love. No matter how many carats, a diamond is still going to be forever. This timelessness, this lasting quality of a diamond is what makes it an even greater symbol of what everyone wants: a love that lasts forever.

 


Brilliance Loose Diamonds’ May Flores is a knowledge junkie who loves cooking up and delivering marketing material as a home-based writer for several blogs. She also writes creative fiction in her spare time.


Popular Wedding Gown Trends for Summer Weddings

Summer weddings have always been popular and that will never change. Summer evokes thoughts of bright colors, sand, beach, and fun. Last year’s summer wedding gown trends highlighted silhouettes such as empire dresses, A-lines, and mermaid or fit and flare. In 2012, designers have taken things a bit forward and have come up with some sexy new designs to fit the steaminess of the season. Below are the top trends for summer wedding gowns this year.

Short gowns: Short gowns have been around for a while, but this year, the runway has been bombarded with this style. Summer is the perfect time to sport a short dress, as the weather will be warm, or even hot. Short wedding gowns are also perfect for a beach wedding, or any venue that is held outdoors. The trending lengths include mini-skirts, for the daring bride who really wants to showcase her legs; above the knee for a flirty look; and right below the knee for a more vintage or conservative feel. Most designers are sticking to the basic white and ivory color scheme, so as to not have the wedding dress look like a bridesmaid gown.

High-Low Hemlines: This style brings together the best of both worlds… short and sweet and sexy and long. It is a new design that is considered fashion-forward. The wedding gown is designed to be shorter in the front and floor length in the back. It is achieved by using pick-ups and the shorter part of the dress varies in length. The pick-up can be a foot or so, or go all the way up to the knee. It is a sultry look that is perfect for summer weddings, whether they be indoor or outdoor events. The fabrics on these designs vary and are often mixed-and-matched for more of a whimsical feel. And, best of all, if you choose the high-low hemline skirt, it is a great way to show off your bridal shoes!

High slits: Keeping with the sexy and sultry look of the summer wedding dress trend, high slits are in high demand. Designers have realized that in this day and age, bringing red carpet looks together with a wedding gown is a fabulous way to have the bride show off some leg, yet still keep the floor length. The slits can be rather high… all the way up to the top of the thigh. Most high-slit dresses are in sheath style. Other silhouettes do not lend themselves for this type of altering.

Learn more about wedding trends and get great deals on cheap wedding gowns by leading designers at BridePower.com.


No More Hangover: The Best Cures Around

We all love a good knees up, especially at this time of year, but there's nothing worse than the wreckage that follows. If you're fed up of spending your Sundays in bed with a splitting headache and an upset stomach these simple steps will help you to beat the dreaded hangover.

Eat Some Soup
A hearty bowl of vegetable soup will line your stomach and give you much needed antioxidants to protect your cells. It will also fill you up and hopefully offset the desire to drink so much.

Don't Get Bladdered
Go out, have a few drinks and then stop. Prevention is always the best cure. Obvious? Yes, but it’s still worth mentioning. If you can enjoy just a couple of drinks you’ll be fine the next day.

Rotate Your Drinks
No, that doesn't mean drinking everything behind the bar. It means for every couple of alcoholic drinks you could have a pint of water or a glass of fruit juice. You won’t drink as much and won’t end up so dehydrated by the end of the night. (Dehydration is the primary cause of a hangover)

Go Light
Avoid dark-coloured drinks such as red wine, brandy, and port. These drinks contain large amounts of "congeners", which tend to cause more severe hangovers.

Walk Home
If it’s safe and not too far the exercise and fresh air will help you to sober up and feel better in the morning. You’ll also have time to figure out an excuse for why you’re home so late.

Drink Before Bed
No, not more alcohol. A pint of water. You’ll be more hydrated and less likely to wake up with a splitting headache. Milk is another good choice because it contains tryptophan which can help you get a good nights sleep.

Eat A Healthy Breakfast
When you do eventually get out of your bed a healthy breakfast will work wonders. Those jittery feelings are caused by low blood sugar so choose snacks that will replace vital nutrients and get you back on an even keel: bananas for potassium, almonds for zinc and magnesium, eggs for amino acids and B vitamins.

Drink A Pint Of Water Every Hour
More water? Yes, more water. You're hungover because you're dehydrated. Water combats dehydration. Simple! Lemon water (water with a squeeze of lemon) and vegetable juices are also a great choice and will help detoxify the liver.

People swear by the hair of the dog, caffeine, paracetamol and all sorts of weird and wonderful remedies but most of them aren't worth the effort. They only delay the inevitable while worsening your already frail condition.

Stick with these natural cures and you’ll be right as rain in the morning.

Michael Chidzey. London-based, Product Development Manager for the corporate events department of the event company Chillisauce, specialising in team building events & experiential marketing activities.


Ideas For a Signature Food Element For Your Wedding

There are many elements of a wedding that can have a significant impact on your guests. Along with saying “I do” is the responsibility the bride feels to impress her guests. Are you searching for the perfect way to leave a lasting impact on your guests? There are countless ways to do this. From the type of entertainment you choose to the décor of the reception, there are many avenues that you can focus on to leave your guest talking about your big event. You’ve heard the saying that “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, the way to your guests’ heart will be through their stomachs! A great way to leave that lasting impression is by making sure that the food served at your big event is top notch! Choose a signature food element that will represent your wedding perfectly and will please every guest in attendance. A signature food element will not be something you can create on your own. It will be a creation of mastery by professionals who focus on making food both visually pleasing and tasting.

What is a “signature food element?”

While all of the food at your wedding should be tasty, focusing on choosing one item to awe guest will allow you to make your impression. A signature food element is one in which you and your spouse choose that represents you as a couple. It’s one that you want your guest to remember for years to come. Maybe it’s a signature cocktail or a divine dessert that the two of you enjoy. Whatever it is, the signature food element must be absolutely extraordinary if you want your guests to take it with them as a fond memory of your wedding. Below are a few suggestions that have been hit “signature food elements” for brides and grooms.

A traditional family meal

Is there a meal that is special to your family? Perhaps its grandma’s homemade meatballs or a holiday meal that is prepared every Christmas. Impress your guests by bringing the sentimental food to your big event. Find special ways to spice them up by using the highest quality ingredients. You may even rent the finest China to serve the food on. Grandma’s meatballs on fine china are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Over the top desserts

Perhaps you and your spouse are sweet lovers. This is a great avenue for leaving a lasting impression on your guests. Have an assortment of decadent desserts available for your guests to choose from. Have the desserts hand crafted by the finest bakery using fun and creative ingredients. Be creative in how you serve the desserts, from fun and funky plates and glasses to a dramatic buffet style spread. Your guests may not remember what they ate for the main course, but they will never forget the experience of eating the highly refined desserts.

Expensive wine

Instead of having an open bar at your wedding, consider using the beverage as an avenue to gain a signature food element. Go for a wine tasting at your local winery and find the best tasting wine to please your guests and leave a lasting impression. If you know anything about wine, you know that the older it is the better it tastes. Older wine will not be cheap and your guests will appreciate and be in awe of the expense you have gone through to give them the best beverage available.

Food art

Another great way to have food make a lasting impression is to make sure each and every dish you choose to serve your guest is a beautiful work of art. Talk with your chef or catering company about adding some unique and special touches to each dish, from caramelized syrup in an intricate design to swirls of white and dark chocolate on the dessert plate. When searching for a signature food element, make sure that it is bursting with color, fragrant, and will leave each and every guest breathless. Who knew food could be so beautiful?

If you are looking to impress your guess through food, you must find a signature food item that represents your wedding perfectly. While there are many ways to impress your guests, food will without a doubt be an easy and interesting way to have your guests talking about your big event. Choose the best wine, most decadent desserts, and beautiful plating arrangements to serve the food at your wedding. It is sure to be an event your guests will never forget.

Citations:

Olivia Nicholas has been writing about and planning weddings for over 10 years.  She loves to share what she has learned with others by writing about her experiences for Storkie.


5 Wedding Dress 'do's' For That Special Day

All the plans are in full motion, the day is ticking even nearer and you’re onto the final, and possibly most important, decision of them all- the dress. Now history and some seriously misguided celebrities (think Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman) have shown us how easy it is to get it wrong. But here are a few ways to get it just right…

Your 5 wedding dress do’s:

  1. Stick to white.

Perhaps the symbolic value of the white dress has been lost, but don’t allow this to sway you from this timeless tradition. It is your day so remember that you want to stand out- there will be no other woman clad in fully white, so rest assured this will be the case. The color white acts as a reflector, which means that that magical glow to you see on all those brides- it’s not just love, there is an actual white sheen surrounding the bride, courtesy of the dress and the lighting. It is the perfect color to accessorize with, allowing you to add touches of alternative colors with lace, ribbon or flowers. Not to mention that it makes your skin look magnificent, whether you are fair or dark, a white dress will only enrich your tone, not be a stark contrast against it.

  1. Simplify.

Ruffles, oversized veils, puff-out sleeves, these are all fashion contributions that should be safely left behind in the 90’s. A wedding dress should be there to give compliment to your already existing beautiful features, not to overcome them with swirls and whirls. Remember this is going to be in your photo album FOREVER, so don’t let the fashion at the time blur your long-term vision. Keep it classy, elegant and classic. This way you will you look beautiful on the day, as well as in 20 years time when your daughter pours over your photo album.

  1. Budget

The dress is a big deal- no one is going to try tell you otherwise. But if you’re finding yourself stuck with money, it is possible to shave a few dollars off the dress budget. Luckily for us there are those (now don’t cringe) second hand stores who in actual fact do have some truly splendid pieces which, when tailored, might be the magical dress you have always been looking for. Its not the easiest section to hold back on but at the end of the day, you will only be wearing the dress on that day- and getting a dress that is just that little bit cheaper beats the hell out a room full of guests getting sick from salmonella.

  1. Make it last

Now, I have said it a few times- this is the only day you will wear this dress. But that doesn’t mean that no one has to remember you in it. Utilize the beauty and design of the dress by adding it to your wedding party favors. This could mean edible wedding favors in the shape of the dress, or even a photograph including you (and the dress) with a personal message inscribed on the back. It’s a little cheeky, but hey, make it last!

  1. Live it!

Aaah, there are too many brides who have gone out of their way to look absolutely fabulous and have forgotten the key ingredient- comfort! This is a special day you are going to be nervous, I’m afraid to say… you may even sweat. So don’t pack on the layers, pump up the heels, or cake on the make-up if it is not you. Just focus on what will make you truly comfortable. If you are in pain or annoyed by something the entire day and night- it will ruin your mood and it will retract from your beauty. When you are relaxed and at ease this will radiate through your smile and presence.

Be true to yourself and as happy as you can be, it will inevitably make you shine and glow on that magical day, even more than all those princesses before you (oh, and if you follow this 5 step list of course).

 

Amy Foure writes about creating the perfect wedding with style, grace and personalized wedding favors.


Five Ideas to Help You Throw the Perfect Garden Party

With beautiful spring-filled days just around the corner it’s the perfect time to start planning an idyllic garden party. And what better way to start the season off than by having your nearest and dearest in your favorite space? 

Here are five tips on how to host the perfect garden party:

1. Pick a Theme: If you do this before sending out your invitations it will help narrow the focus of what you want to accomplish. Parities without a theme tend to try to accomplish too much. Will it be a tea, luncheon, or afternoon dessert party? If you have a theme, like a spring birthday or Easter, it’s much easier to plan what kinds of food, games and invitations you want around that idea. Requesting that guests wear English garden party attire can be a fun way to create a subtle theme that doesn’t require a holiday or special occasion to celebrate.  

2. Send out invitations with an RSVP: Sure, it adds a little formality, but having an outdoor garden party is a formal affair. You will definitely want a head count to make the seating arrangements and menu. Plus it gives your guests plenty of time to make sure they can actually attend. Three weeks is plenty of time for guests to plan for a semi-formal outdoor luncheon.

3. Decor: When decorating feel free to mix and match expensive and inexpensive dinnerware. Tea cups can mingle freely on a tabletop with a glass milk jug acting as a vase if there are plenty of flowers and other elegant items on the table that balance the scene. Mismatched dish-ware can be cute, but don’t overwhelm guests with too many colors or patterns. If you have a late tea, make sure to string up lights or colorful banners in the garden to keep guests feeling welcome until it gets dark. 

4. Serve Springtime Fare: Serve beautiful foods that are light and fresh. Pick seasonal fruits and vegetables that are easily complemented by fresh dips. Make sure there are a few heavier bites, like cucumber sandwiches and scones, but focus more on salads and trays of fruits and veggies. Tea is always a welcome addition outside, but feel free to serve something bubbly. Champagne or a nice sparkling pomegranate juice can really add a touch of sophistication. 

5. Outdoor Games: Croquet is a perfect outdoor game in early spring. While not everyone will want to play, it can be a nice diversion for some of the guests to get up and mill around your beautiful garden while the others sit and visit. Whatever you do, don’t force a schedule on your guests. When they arrive, serve tea and whatever food you have selected. If everyone is inclined to catch up, let them. Occasionally inviting them to play croquet or some other activity, such as an egg hunt.

A fun parting gift might be a small plant, or vegetable start or even a pair of gardening gloves. Giving a pair of gloves may seem unique, but it lets guests feel as though they can take part of their experience home and relive it in their own gardens.  

 

Avery Lane is a freelance writer based out of the Pacific Northwest. If you want to keep your guests cool inside your home when they need an escape from the heat outside, see these guides to central air conditioner prices and Trane air conditioner prices


Choosing a Wedding Venue

When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, you could be in for a long and difficult journey. So many venues cater for weddings these days that it isn’t about choosing which hotel to hold it in anymore. Everywhere from stately homes to farms, wineries to garden centres offer to host weddings and narrowing down what you want can be tough. Start with  some key decisions that will immediately cut a whole host of venues out of the running and you’ll be on your way to choosing where to hold the most important day of your life.

Location, location, location

Decide where in the world you want to get married and you’ll be able to get the ball rolling. If you plump for a wedding close to home, you’ll need to decide whether that means in the same country or in your home town or city. If you come to the decision that an overseas wedding is what you want, you’ll need to narrow that down and pick a country and then a location within that country. Once that decision has been made you’re ready to start the search in earnest.

The price is right

We’d all love a dream wedding with an unlimited budget but in the real world most of us have a budget that needs to be stuck to. Decide how much you’re happy to spend on the venue, plus how much extra you’d be willing to fork out for the venue that makes your heart leap and your eyes water, and stick to it when you’re researching venues. There’s no point bankrupting yourself paying for a wedding venue that you simply can’t afford - that would not be a very happy start to married life. Also consider the packages the venue offers - you may be able to afford the hire charge but not the food and drinks package. On the flip side, the venue may be too expensive but allows you to bring in your own caterers and buy your own alcohol, giving you a saving elsewhere and therefore making the venue itself affordable.

Civil ceremony or church wedding?

If you’re having a religious ceremony it makes sense to hold the reception near the church, mosque or temple. The closer the reception to the ceremony, the less time you spend travelling on your wedding day and the less chance guests will get lost in between venues. If you’re choosing a civil ceremony, it’s a good idea to choose one venue which is also licensed for weddings.

The numbers game

Clearly, the number of guests you are planning to invite to your wedding will have a huge bearing when it comes to choosing a venue. You may fall in love with a quirky building but if it can only accommodate 50 people and you’re set on a big wedding you’ll only get your heart broken. Don’t even visit a venue if it’s too big or too small.

Emily Buckley often writes wedding related articles on behalf of the Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth, one of the most exceptional wedding venues in Western Australia.

 


Wedding Favors

Exactly what is a wedding favor? A Wedding Favor is a small token of your appreciation to your guests or wedding party. It can be as simple as a picture of the bride and groom in a beautiful picture frame to a delicious edible treat that all guests would enjoy. You can be elaborate and decorate your reception party with a theme wedding favor such as a beach wedding favor or as dreamy as a Cinderella theme wedding. For a personal touch you may want to give a special gift of personal bath salts to your bridal party or place some mouth watering treats in your own wedding favor packaging.

Wedding Favors are also a delightful way for your guests to remember your special occasion. In the years to come your guests will look upon that special take home favor and remember your special day with fond memories. It might even entice your guests to send a special gift or card upon your anniversary.

Need some wedding favor ideas? Take a look and browse www.favorsbyimpressions.com for some wonderful favor and gift ideas and your wedding will make a lasting impression.


Partying as a Singleton?

If you’ve reached that tricky time of life when most of your mates are married off or submerged in coupledom, from time to time you’ll find yourself invited to a party which is clearly aimed at the couples market, and you’re the obligatory single guy or girl making up the numbers.

Larger events involving dimmed lights and loud music don’t tend to be so intimidating – but dinner parties have to top the list of potentially awkward situations as a singleton. The anticipation can be worse then the event itself – worrying about who you’re going to end up sat next to – whether that’s the ‘other’ opposite sex single person your friends are not so subtly attempting to set you up with, or in between a bickering couple, or even next to one half of a couple who seems slightly over interested in you in a slightly obvious way – it’s never as bad as it might seem in your imagination! Who knows, the blind date set up guy or gal might actually be someone you get on with/are attracted to – and if not, then at least you’ve got someone else in the same situation to chat to.

The key things to remember to make the evening go as smoothly as possible are, in no particular order:

  • Don’t drink too much – nothing worse than being the drunkest in the room when you’re making your own way home without a helper!
  • Unless you’re averse to it – to may be best to drink a little though – just to ease the nerves!
  • Don’t flirt with any half of a couple – and if the attention is getting a little too close for comfort for you, then an unsubtle of turn your back for at least 15 minutes should send the right message.
  • Set up a ‘leaving early’ excuse from the outset of the evening – an early work meeting/gym class/day trip…you won’t have to follow it through and be the first to leave, but it’ll give you the opportunity if need be.

If you still can’t face a dinner party alone, why not try registering at a few free dating sites, which could help you meet someone, and while you're there just check out the dating profile writing tips page to get a quick glance on better ways to write profiles too!

And if you're in the middle of planning your own dinner party, why not liven things up with our range of adults party bags!

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